LONDON BB Energy has bought Morgan Stanley's diesel terminal in Australia as the oil trader expands outside its core European and Middle East markets, the trading company said on Tuesday.
The U.S. bank and its peers JPMorgan Chase & Co, Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs have been selling their physical commodity interests after the U.S. Federal Reserve and other regulators increased scrutiny of Wall Street's involvement in the sector in past few years.
Morgan Stanley sold its physical oil business and trading team to U.S.-based Castleton Commodities in 2015, but retains stakes in oil tanker operator Heidmar and a marine services firm. Morgan Stanley declined to comment on the BB Energy deal.
The Australian terminal in Mackay, Queensland has a 75,000 cubic meter diesel tank farm. Morgan Stanley owned the port, commissioned in December 2014, via Pioneer Energy Holdings PTY.
"With the ongoing recovery of the mining sector and our diesel sourcing and trading network in the Far East, we believe we can play a role in the Australian market," BB Energy chief executive Mohamed Bassatne said in a statement.
The acquisition is BB Energy's first in Australia. The company plans to open an office in Brisbane by April, expanding its operations from its origins as a Mediterranean trading firm.
Australia was the biggest importer of diesel in the Asia-Pacific region, Bassatne said, adding that the Mackay terminal was being acquired via BB Energy's subsidiary Wala B Terminal Holding PTY Ltd.
BB Energy, founded in 1937 in Lebanon, trades about 17 million tonnes of crude and refined products a year. Its main offices are in Singapore, London, Dubai, and Houston.
(The story was refiled to add dropped word in paragraph 6)
(Editing by Edmund Blair)